Monday, January 9, 2012


YAY we get to do this again!   A new meme originated by Patty Wysong. Click here to see more or to join the fun!

This year, because I'm studying photography, I will frequently use topics and pictures from what I'm learning. This week's focus from the Digital Photography Basics class is on lighting and how it sets the mood for the picture.

Have you ever noticed that when you take a picture, the resulting photo is not the same as what you saw with your eyes? Many times, I was  excited about the photo yet disappointed when the resulting picture did not accurately display what I was seeing. Why didn't the vivid colors and shadowy lines appear? Why did the scene look so flat? 
 I've since learned that the camera has a sensor in it, and reacts to the light sources around it. Basically, light is a major part of taking a picture that evokes emotion.

Per Webster's Dictionary, the definition of ambiance is "A feeling or mood associated with a particular place, person, or thing."  Lighting sets the mood for photos and is a very important part of the overall composition and that is what this first lesson is about. 

My first week assignment in this course was to take an object that I really liked and photograph it in different types of light and then compare the settings and discuss what feelings were evoked from the picture. 
The crystal droplets on this candlestick is one of a pair that was gifted to me from beloved friends when they visited Germany. To me, the  brass ring of multi-faceted  glass teardrops is beautiful, and when placed in bright light, glistens with prisms of color.

From this lesson, I learned about different types of light:

1. DIRECT SUNLIGHT - Over head or midday sunshine casts deeper shadows, brings out vivid colors
2. INDIRECT SUNLIGHT-Cloudy/overcast day, shadows, window light, It has softer, less defined shadows. 
The "Blue Hour" is the hour just before dawn and just after sunset. Cast blue tint
3  EVENING LIGHT- "Golden Hour" is the hour just after sunrise and the hour before sunset and it creates a red-gold hue and long shadows.

1. INCANDESCENT- yellowish light with gives off soft warm feel
2. FLUORESCENT- provides a bluish-green cast
3.CAMERA FLASH- Sets same light for entire photo. Not effective for providing definition of shadows
 4. CANDLE/FIRE- warm yellow to red light

Part of the assignment was to photograph the object in the same location, but with 3 different variants of natural light and compare side to side.  For this lesson, my camera mode  was set at Automatic without flash (Program or P). The white balance and ISO were set at Auto.

         The photo on far left seems to have a less defined wall and more definition on the crystal drops. 
The second photo shows more definition on the wall but the teardrops fade into the background.
The third photo seems closer to the first, but with the reddish tones on the wall from the sun just about to drop below the horizon.
 The direct sunlight shot shows  the intense shadows and I see a bit of sparkle.

When I photographed this next set of pictures, it was from inside my hutch cabinet where I keep other crystal pieces and whatnot. There are two bright white bulbs overhead and my eye saw the sparkle in the glass. The lighting was  like what I've seen in jewelry displays at the store where the bright light reflects  off the item causing it to sparkle. 

But as you can see, that is not what my camera recorded. What a shock! Note the brassy tones. However, when I go back and reread the description of different forms of light, I'm reminded that incandescent bulbs set off a warm yellowish light. Okay, that  made sense. 

 Just for fun and because of the incongruence of the setting, I placed the  glassware on the  brick wall in my courtyard. The  early morning sun was to the left. I did not even notice the bougainvillea flower was part of the picture until I uploaded the photo to the computer. I was too busy focusing on the crystals. This shows me I need to be more careful of what else may be in the composition!
The above photo was also taken on my patio, but it was a shady area. Talk about incongruence! The dirty table was so unbecoming a setting for the lovely candlestick!

Here is another set of comparisons. 
To  my eyes, the wall is a pale blue-gray color
Photos are definitely more pleasant to look at when the flash is not used!

The last part of the assignment was to use a Photoshop type program to adjust  the pictures. I used Memory Manager and StoryBook 0.4 from Creative Memories  to modify photos.
It's amazing to me to learn and see how much a difference there is with light and placement of the object or photographer! I really like the adjusted black and white version because it sets the mood by focusing on the intricate beauty of the crystal. That beauty is what my eye saw and what I was trying to achieve in the photograph.  Was I successful?

Speaking of ambiance, Mari has graciously offered to create  a blog design for me!
  I want to go for  it, yet don't know what I want. I don't have a  set blog platform but at this time, am focusing on photography.  I want to be open to some writings, perhaps a devotional, and of course, stories about my girls!  Can you help me out with some  ideas? 


  1. Ooh... I really enjoyed these photo "ambiance" notes and pictures! Of course, as you know, I share your love of photography! As for the blog, have you thought about using different "pages" tabs for the different things you want to showcase? That's on my list to do to improve my blog and add tabs to other pages still within the blog for some of my photos and other projects / interests besides writing.

  2. How fun! I especially like the one in the direct sun from the window but love seeing all the variations.

  3. That's fascinating. I love taking nature pictures but the little I share them, I always emphasize what an amateur I am. It's obvious you're learning a lot and very good at what you do!

  4. Oh wow! I learned a lot from that.

    What a difference the angle of the light makes!

    I can't wait to see your new blog.

  5. Awesome (notice my A). :)

    Thanks for the lesson. My husband bought me a new camera last year and I'm still learning to use it. I enjoyed your Ambiance.


  6. Fascinating stuff, Barb! I'm definitely smarter than I was when I first opened this post.

    Enjoy your design - no matter what you come up with! Mari's good. :)

  7. I loved the one taken outside in direct sunlight, the slash of color behind it worked beautifully.

    I would say you were over-the-top successful! Thanks for sharing your learning experience. I really enjoyed it! Hugs!

  8. I agree with Sparrow... the one in the direct sun is one of my favorites. I look forward to learning from you. We take a lot of pictures of bugs and it has always been difficult to figure out how to capture them... photographically speaking of course. ;)

  9. I'm enjoying sharing what I'm learning! The course is already getting more involved! May not be so easy next blog post!

  10. Wow! That's intensive work! My daughter bought a DSLR a few months ago and is learning about all this stuff. Photography is like its own form of magic.

  11. Wow! That's intensive work! My daughter bought a DSLR a few months ago and is learning about all this stuff. Photography is like its own form of magic.

  12. Barb, I learned a lot from this. THANK YOU! =] I loved this class when Cheryl took it and I'm loving it as you go through too! =]

    Love that candlestick. Gorgeous. Great subject for the lesson!! =]

  13. It was fun to read your post! Nice job on the lesson! My favorite is the one outside with the flower in the interesting. It is fun to see what is in a frame that we didn't realize when taking the pic. Following along as you take this class is like a refresher for me...I like it.


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